Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong believes former Ajax team-mate Donny van de Beek is good enough to play for Real Madrid amid speculation linking the player with a move to the club.
Van de Beek and De Jong were crucial parts of the Ajax team that clinched a domestic double in 2018-19, while they also made a surprise run to the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League.
De Jong agreed to move to Barcelona midway through the previous campaign, and the Blaugrana's heated rivals reportedly want to sign Van de Beek to strengthen their midfield options. The Barca midfielder said he would prefer his compatriot to stay in Amsterdam, although added he is sure he would be a success in La Liga, per Samuel Marsden of ESPN FC.
"I would prefer him to stay at Ajax because I wouldn't have him as an opponent and Ajax would stay strong. But, no, of course, when it's all settled, and if he moves to Madrid, I am really happy for him. I think he deserves it. He's a great player. Then I will go see him in Spain!
"...I am pretty sure he has the ability. I think he showed it last season in the Champions League, especially in the knockout rounds. I think he has shown to the world and everyone in Europe he has the ability to play at that level."
As De Jong noted, following on from their extraordinary season, Ajax have lost a number of their key players:
The Barcelona man will know how effective Van de Beek can be. While they both operate in similar areas of the field, their games differ. De Jong's modus operandi is to maintain control in central positions and build attacks for the team, whereas Van de Beek links the midfield and attack with his runs forward.
When he does get into dangerous positions, Van de Beek is composed in his decision-making and ruthless in his finishing:
He showcased those traits on the biggest stage last season, netting in the Champions League semi-final first-leg win over Tottenham Hotspur and this goal in the quarter-final second leg against Juventus:
If Van de Beek were to move to Real Madrid, it's likely he would be lining up against De Jong for many years. The Barcelona star is expected to be deployed at the base of midfield, though he can also play in central defence, and he would be tasked with nullifying the influence of opposition attackers, as well as dictating the tempo of a game.
Madrid have experience and quality in this facet of the field—Luka Modric, Toni Kroos and Casemiro have been vital players—but the acquisition would make sense, as Van de Beek would bring a thrust to a midfield that lacked an attacking spark last term.